Saturday, September 25, 2010

Healing Is Taking So Long

Sometimes we miss a dip in the road and life rips us open without notice. Then, we set out in search of healing…

A few months back, while out for a jog, I tripped on uneven pavement. It was a beautifully executed wipe out. I went down on one knee as both palms ate tiny gravel beads as if they were candy nerds. I picked the small rocks out of my hands and immediately my left knee burned. Looking down, I had just become the recipient of a classic ‘strawberry’. Blood and plasma made the wound glossy. All the skin was shaved off the surface of my kneecap as if it was a smoothly peeled mango. I quickly scanned the park to see how many people saw my little spill because let’s face it; no one wants to fall down in front of other people. No one seemed to notice or if they did, they didn’t stare or come running so I limped back to the house, 33 years old with the embarrassing injury of a 5 year old.

Over the following 2 weeks, the sharp sting of raw flesh subsided and the color turned from bright red to black. Slowly, a crusty scab formed a protective layer over the ‘strawberry’ on my knee. Every effort was made to keep it lathered with antibiotic ointment and bandaged so no infection would set in. Whenever I walked or sat down or stood up or moved at all, I was reminded that it was still there. The pain, though dull by now, was still present. Finally, the day came when the bandage and the ointment needed to step aside and let the open-air aid in the healing process. Each bend of the knee made me wince as walking and moving normally caused the scab to crack open. Still, I couldn’t stop because the movement was creating elasticity in the new skin that was forming under the scab.

Eventually, after a while longer (longer than I imagined a scraped knee should take) the scab finished falling off and it appeared to be healed. That is, until I was sitting on the floor one afternoon and put all my weight on the left knee as I got up on my feet. The pang of discomfort caught me off guard. My hands instinctively reached out to take the pressure off the knee. It was then I realized that although the open wound had healed, beneath the skin, the bruise was taking longer.

After 5 weeks, the skinned knee finally returned to full working order. However, it still doesn’t look the same as the other knee. The scar has a darker shade of flesh and serves as a reminder of a single misstep.

Healing hurts. It’s a process, not an overnight fix. Sometimes when we think we are ok, we find out that we need more time.